Teen Motherhood and Employment Outcomes in the Philippines with Education as Mediator

by Jane Alexandra A. Siwa (2023)


This study aims to contribute to the existing literature on adolescent childbearing in the Philippines by looking at teen motherhood, education, and employment outcomes. Drawing from the human capital theory, the study uses data from the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) to test if education mediates the relationship between teen motherhood and two employment outcomes: work status and work type.

Using the classic Baron and Kenny steps in establishing mediation, the study found that education mediates the impact of teen motherhood on work status and work type. Mothers who experienced teen pregnancy had lower odds of finishing high school or obtaining higher education and mothers with lower educational levels thus have lower odds of attaining favorable work status and work type. Finishing high school does not necessarily lead to having a job but it is significantly and positively associated with non-precarious jobs meaning having permanent, paid, and full-time jobs. Having higher education on the other hand is positively associated with having work and having a quality job, even when all other factors are controlled for.

Woman’s place of birth and birth cohorts were also included in analyzing work status and work type, as the selectivity theory posits that women with disadvantageous backgrounds are more likely to be found in disadvantaged position later in life. Being born in rural areas is also linked with precarious jobs, meaning having insecure, unpaid or part-time work. Contrary to the hypothesized outcome, women from middle and old cohorts, born between 1977-1986 and 1967-1976 respectively, were found to have higher odds of being employed or having a decent employment, indicating a life-cycle effect rather than a cohort effect.

Socio-economic factors (socio-economic status and type of place of residence and family factors (marital status and co-residence with young child) that may affect women’s work status and work type were also used as controls. The relationship between teen motherhood, education and work outcomes remains even if socio-economic and family factors are controlled for. It is nonetheless notable that family factors, particularly marital status and co-residence with young children matter in women’s current employment. This reflects the persisting gender norms in the world of work./p>

The study highly recommends expanding support to teen mothers, especially ocusing on providing access to human capital so they may have better chances of having gainful employment. Measuring direct and indirect effects of teen pregnancy on employment outcomes using longitudinal studies as well as quasi-experimental approaches to deepen the analysis of the effects and consequences of teen motherhood are also recommended.